Devon Barker is a rippin' pro kayaker and does the human race proud with her positive outlook on life. We at AIRE all got a kick out of this write up when she sent it to us about a month ago. When I asked her if I could post the story to our blog she said, "You bet you can use the write up and photos...Thanks a million millions."
Here is her write up ~ enjoy!
"Late Season, Low Water Inflatable kayaking… anyone?
Ten years ago you would most likely finding me overnighting in my IK on the Selway, Owyhee, Big Creek or any low volume, remote creek accessible by plane. I bought an IK as it was much easier to fly in small planes in the Idaho backcountry than it was with my creek boat. Today, you will usually find me on a surfwave, but a few days ago I put in on the South Fork of the Salmon River at the confluence of the Secesh and the East Fork of the Salmon River with my brother, Jon.
This was a spur of the moment trip as my brother called at 2:30 pm suggesting we should go paddle but he had no gear. He just stepped out of a meeting in Boise, Idaho and said, “Let’s go, call the plane, and can I borrow some gear?” I outfitted him in my women’s NRS paddling gear. He stopped at Sub Way for our food and I scrambled to find gear, a shuttle drive, a dog sitter, and book a flight before 5 pm all in route to going paddle at Kelly’s Whitewater Park. We left this next morning at 6:30 with my friend Carolyn driving shuttle.
The South Fork is a great run with more than a dozen class 4 rapids at 2.1 feet. The gauge is http://waterdata.usgs.gov/id/nwis/current/?type=flow The reading is above the Secesh and the East Fork so we estimated we had about 600 cfs, 32 miles, and 43 fpm. I have paddled this run down to .5 feet and as high as 5.5 feet. If you are looking for a fall trip this is a must do.
There are only four named rapids with a fifth, No Name, in between but there are tons of great rapids the entire run. Devils Creek is the first larger rapid. We came upon a black bear and her cub playing on the beach after exiting one of the many boulder choked rapids. The granite boulders loom above you as you thread between their passages. As you reach the confluence with the Salmon River take the sneak around the island to the right and eddy hop up to MacKay Bar airstrip.
A somewhat easier trip is the Selway River after permit season ends August 1st. Flying into Shear airstrip is my favorite as you paddle most of the river. Moose Creek is great as well but the haul to the river is much longer. A 206 can usually take 3 paddlers and IKs. Or it can take 2 creek boat and 2 people but you have to let the pilot know before you fly as they usually have to take out the co-pilot seat & take out the back bulk head to accommodate creek boats. Then passengers all sit on the left behind the pilot. This has to be done before they leave the airport so if you are flying the take-out don’t forget to do this ahead or you will be stuck at the air strip.
Wanting to flying in small planes began in high school as my ski coaches owned McCall Air Taxi and flew all over the back country. Mike Dorris understood when I called him up late season to fly my shuttles. The flight out of MacKay Bar was exhilarating but a little bumpy. Twenty-five minutes later I stepped out of the plane in McCall, my home and the SF my backyard. Do you have two days? Come paddle the SF, I’ll join you!